The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest For… Test | Final Test - Hard

Brian Greene
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 185 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which of the following methods has been used to determine the shape of the Calabi-Yau space?

2. What is strong-weak duality?

3. What is the collapse and reformation of a Calabi-Yau shape called?

4. When the universe is at its smallest possible size, which other property is also at its maximum?

5. By what factor is the minimum mass of a wrapped string in determined?

Short Essay Questions

1. Are the extra-dimensions demanded by string theory, space or time dimensions? How are those dimensions experienced in everyday life?

2. Describe the difficulties in studying the entropy of a black hole.

3. What is the relationship between the elementary particles and the Calabi-Yau space?

4. What is the Calabi-Yau space?

5. Describe the nature and importance of the procedure discovered by Yau and Tian.

6. What is the major difference between the big bang with and without string theory?

7. Describe Kaluza-Klein theory.

8. Describe the history of space-time tears in physics.

9. What is a wormhole, and how is it formed?

10. Describe the state of the universe's expansion, including what its ultimate fate might be.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Most Famous Equation

Einstein's famous equation, E=mc^2 was not actually published in his original papers on relativity. It was a minor note in a clarification written later, but its importance was instantly recognized. Today, it is the most famous and recognizable equation in the world, and is used almost as a garnish to any depiction of scientific work. This essay is about the discovery and applications of this famous equation.

Part 1) What does the equation mean? What does each component represent, and what is the underlying principle that the equation embodies?

Part 2) How was this equation discovered? Explain in detail how it is related to general relativity and how it indicates that no object with mass can move at exactly the speed of light.

Part 3) Explain some of the implications of this equation. How can its effects be observed in everyday life? How would our world be different if we were ignorant of this equation?

Essay Topic 2

M for Mystery

M-theory is an as yet undiscovered theory that would unit the five fields of string theory. What the "M" stands for is actually subject to some debate, but the theory suggests that there are connections between the five seemingly disparate theories.

Part 1) Describe the origin of the five string theories, explaining why their existence is an embarrassment for the field.

Part 2) Explain the history of M-theory. When and why was it proposed, and what progress has been made since it was created? What is its current scientific status?

Part 3) Explain the concept of duality, which relates different string theories. Has this theory has any success, and what are its prospects in the future?

Essay Topic 3

The Conflict of the Century

Between quantum mechanics and general relativity, almost any phenomenon in the universe can be explained and understood, but for physicists, this is not enough. It has long been known that these theories conflict with one another, and that therefore, neither of them can be exactly correct. The search for a single unifying theory that can reconcile these two branches of science is ongoing. String theory is just one of the many solutions that has been suggested, but it has lasted the longest and sustained the most scrutiny.

Part 1) Describe the conflicts between quantum mechanics and general relativity. How and where do these theories become mutually incomprehensible? Provide as many examples of these conflicts as possible.

Part 2) Research and describe some of the efforts to unify these fields, apart from string theory. How are these problems approached, and how successful have these theories been?

Part 3) Describe string theory's approach to resolving these conflicts. How does this approach differ from the others discussed above, and how successful has string theory been compared with these others?

(see the answer keys)

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